Tucked away just off Telegraph Ave., Joshu-ya Brasserie is a tiny restaurant with a big personality. Diners can sit on the patio, feeling the warmth of heat lamps above them on cold nights, or they can sit inside, close to one another and surrounded by Asian decor.
Upon being seated, guests receive hot bowls of complimentary miso soup. While drinking this and separating their chopsticks, guests pore over the menu. Fortunately, the staff is friendly and willing to walk through each page, highlighting the variety of tapas inspired by French, Italian and Spanish cuisine, as well as the Japanese-inspired sushi.
There are some hearty, rich options like the grass-fed lamb burger and the pork belly soba. The bone marrow kobe burger is also full of flavor, incredibly filling and comes with a crispy side of tempura onion rings.
Have no fear; there are several lighter dinner options on the “sushi boat” menu, which is extensive and includes choices like the zoolander, the dragon, the spicy tuna and the spider. The varieties that include tuna, yellowtail and salmon (such as the paparazzi as pictured below) are particularly good and large enough to share with a friend.
The chicken udon is another popular option. It includes tempura shrimp, chicken, broccoli, carrots, dumplings and a handful of other ingredients that come warm and in a gigantic bowl.
Perhaps even more perplexing than the rest is the desert menu. It includes things like black sesame crème brûlée and yuzu-honey panna cotta with fresh berries. A new addition to Joshu-ya’s desserts (one that is not yet on the menu) is the banana bacon chocolate bread pudding with a bourbon butterscotch sauce.
Unsurprisingly, diners usually leave Joshu-ya with full bellies and happy hearts.
Location: 2441 Dwight Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
Hours of Operation: Sat-Thur: 11:30 am- 10 pm, Fri & Sat: 11:30 am- 10:30 pm